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EU and South Africa adopt Action Plan for cooperation in Surface Transport R&D

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and the South African Department of Science and Technology has agreed to an Action Plan for promoting surface transport R&D cooperation between the European Union and South Africa.

The Action Plan, and a Joint Statement setting out the parties’ intentions, was adopted during a recent mission by the Surface Transport Unit of the Directorate-General for Research to South Africa. During their mission, the European Commission officials engaged with South African researchers specializing in surface transport (i.e. road, rail and maritime) R&D. The EC delegation also participated in Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) promotion events presented as part of the European South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP.) The mission further coincided with the South African workshop of the Sixth Framework Programme “SIMBA” project, aimed at strengthening road transport research cooperation between Europe and emerging international markets. The Joint Statement and Action Plan sets out various short- medium and long-term actions to promote cooperation. These for example include the reciprocal participation of European and South African experts in strategic events, a regular policy and information exchange as well as the fostering of South African links with European Technology Platforms related to surface transport, all with the specific aim to promote improved South African participation in the surface transport activities of FP7. The Action Plan will be updated and revised through an ongoing and regular dialogue between the parties. The Joint Statement emphasised the rich potential for mutually beneficial R&D cooperation between the EU and South Africa, to address global surface transport challenges, for example related to climate change or urban mobility. As part of the implementation of the Action Plan, specific R&D areas will accordingly be identified, where cooperation will be promoted in a concerted manner. These could for example include urban traffic information systems, mobility management for large events (with an eye to South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup) and road safety. A copy of the Joint Statement and Action Plan can be accessed at: http://www.esastap.org.za and for further details on the SIMBA project see: http://www.simbaproject.org.

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South Africa